More than 12 tons of medications were collected at the 22nd semi-annual Arkansas Drug Take Back Day, nearly doubling the amount collected in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi combined. In all take back day events since 2010, more than 233 tons of medications have been collected and destroyed in an environmentally safe method.
Though national numbers from DEA sponsored Drug Take Back Day on October 23, 2021, are not completed, it is confirmed that Arkansas collected 24,680 pounds, Alabama collected 4,708 pounds, Louisiana collected 4,393 pounds and Mississippi collected 5,942 pounds of medications. Officers from 111 law enforcement agencies operated Drug Take Back Day sites across the state at 148 DEA registered locations (the DEA statistic doesn’t include the 270 permanent drop box locations where many Drug Take Back Day events were held.)
Prescription medicines are toxic waste and pose a danger to people, pets, and the environment. Dispose of expired & unneeded medications in an environmentally save method by taking them to any of the 270 permanent drop box locations in Arkansas. To find a location, visit artakeback.org, click on the Collection Sites tab and enter a zip code.
The top 10 collection sites from the Arkansas Drug Take Back Day were:
- Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office – 3,707 pounds
- Harrison Police Department – 1,747 pounds
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office – 1,193 pounds
- Baxter County Sheriff’s Office – 895 pounds
- Benton Police Department – 843 pounds
- Jonesboro Police Department – 765 pounds
- Texarkana Police Department – 756 pounds
- Sherwood Police Department – 676 pounds
- North Little Rock Police Department – 611 pounds
- Garland County Sheriff’s Department and Springdale Police Department (tied) – 600 pounds
Arkansas Drug Take Back Day History
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), as part of its National Drug Control Strategy, called for an increase of prescription drug return and disposal programs as a means to curbing prescription drug abuse. In early 2010, a coalition led by the State Drug Director, the Attorney General, both Arkansas Districts of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and numerous federal, local, and state agencies, prevention professionals, and private organizations, launched an ongoing education program to encourage everyone to “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” their prescription medications.
As part of the “Monitor, Secure, and Dispose” effort, the coalition organized Arkansas’s participation in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s National Prescription Take-Back Initiative and take back events took place on September 25, 2010; April 30, 2011; October 29, 2011; April 28, 2012; September 29, 2012; April 27, 2013; October 26, 2013; April 26, 2014; and September 27, 2014. DEA announced the discontinuation of the national initiative in September 2014, but an Arkansas take back event under the leadership of partners within the state was held on April 25, 2015. The DEA then reinstated the program nationally on September 26, 2015, and has participated semi-annually since 2016 with Drug Take Back Day events held bi-annually in April and October.
Due to the commitment, dedication, and effort of the Arkansas Law Enforcement Community, its partners, and the multi-agency coalition, and due to excellent participation by Arkansans in all areas of the state, the take back events have been successful above and beyond all expectations. All medications collected are destroyed at environmentally safe facilities across the United States. Prescription medicines are a toxic waste and pose a danger to people, pets, and the environment if they are not disposed of properly. Medicines flushed or poured down the drain end up in the waterways, affecting our drinking water.
Provisional data from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics indicate an estimated 93,331 drug overdose deaths in the United States during 2020, an increase of 29.4% from the 72,151 deaths predicted in 2019. In Arkansas, 547 people died from a drug overdose death in 2020.